Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER weeks of speculation on the identity of the anonymous benefactor who provided Premiership football club, Highlanders, with funds to sign striker Roderick Mutuma, we can exclusively reveal that businessman Longwe Ndlovu is the one who made it possible for Bosso to secure the player.
Investigations carried out by Sunday News Sport revealed that Mutuma was officially signed for $1 000 but will also get an extra $3 000 to bring the amount to $4 000 with all the money coming from Ndlovu. In addition to his $500 salary at Bosso, Ndlovu will top it up by $200 to make his monthly earnings $700.
Sunday News Sport tracked down the businessman who has investments in Bulawayo and Esigodini. The 50-year- old Ndlovu, a former policeman is mostly into gold mining, transport and farming with 20 years in business. He opened up on how he ended up Mutuma’s benefactor. What started off as a conversation on how to bolster the Highlanders strike force ended up with Ndlovu, a Bosso Life Member, pledging to provide the funds to sign Mutuma.
“We were discussing with other supporters at the Highlanders Club House on how to improve our strike force. The treasurer told me that financially, they could not afford to sign Mutuma. I have always liked Mutuma, I know he is a good striker, I don’t doubt that,’’ said Ndlovu.
According to Ndlovu, Mutuma negotiated first with Highlanders, agreed on a signing on fee before the player also inked a deal with the benefactor. Without revealing much, Ndlovu said there are also concealed gains for Mutuma based on his performance.
“There is a contract between Mutuma and myself for one year. I cannot reveal much but there are also hidden benefits for him based on performance. I am just a member of Highlanders, I don’t want anything in return,’’ said Ndlovu.
On why he specifically decided to provide a signing on fee for Mutuma when Highlanders owe a number of their players their commitment money, Ndlovu, who makes it a point to attend Bosso matches home and away said he saw the need for an additional striker at his club. It is his belief that Highlanders failed to win the championship last season because they did not have sharp strikers.
“I saw that the Highlanders strike force is blunt, we were supposed to be champions last season but we were not scoring, we needed sharp shooters,’’ said Ndlovu, who has pledged to have Mutuma’s signing on fee paid in full by the time the season starts.
Highlanders’ treasurer Donald Ndebele, could not confirm or deny that Ndlovu is the one who made it possible for the club to sign Mutuma since he is not authorised to reveal the information to the media.
“I cannot confirm or deny anything. I was told not to say anything to anyone,’’ said Ndebele.
Ndlovu said he has looked after Highlanders players in the past without making it known. According to him, he is the one who plucked former Bosso goalkeeper Talbert Shumba from Mutare and raised him in Bulawayo.